If you're part of the 4/20 crowd, you know that many states are getting much more lenient on their cannabis laws. Some of them are even legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. However, it's still not legal in all states, and it's still a violation of federal laws. Unfortunately, that means that if you're caught in the wrong place with your cannabis, you're going to be looking at potential drug charges. Before you head out with your cannabis in your possession, here are four things you need to know.
Know the Laws
Marijuana use may be legal where you're from, but that doesn't mean it's legal where you're traveling to. If you're going to be traveling to another state, make sure you know the laws. The first thing you need to know is that it's against federal law to transport marijuana across state borders. So if you plan on doing that, know that you're breaking federal laws. The next thing you need to know is that each state handles marijuana charges differently. For instance, in California, marijuana use is legal for medical and recreational use. However, in Arizona, if you're caught with marijuana, you will be charged with a felony; regardless of the amount. Because of the disparity, it's crucial that you know the laws of the states where you'll be visiting.
Never Consent to a Search
If you're pulled over, and you have marijuana in your possession, never consent to a search of your person or your vehicle. Unless you've done something that's given law enforcement probable cause to search, they'll need a warrant before they can search you without your consent. The last thing you want to do is give them permission to find marijuana on you. Instead, remain calm and respectfully refuse the search.
Ask if You're Free to Leave
If law enforcement has not told you that you're under arrest, or that you're being detained, you'll need to ask. When the officer approaches your car again, ask if you're free to leave. If they don't answer, or if they say that you can't, you'll need to ask if you're being detained. If you're being detained, it's safe to assume that they're waiting for a search warrant. It's time to start planning your next move.
Hire an Attorney
If you've been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, you're going to need an attorney – one who's experienced in defending people against drug possession. You might think that a marijuana conviction will be a minor issue, but it can destroy your life, including making it difficult to get a job or even obtain financial aid for school. Speak to a criminal attorney for more info.